Henry Ramon Blanco was born on August 29th, 1971 in Caracas, Venezuela. The five foot eleven catcher got drafted as an amateur free agent in 1989 by the Los Angeles, Dodgers. The catcher spent seven years toiling in the minors before making to the Dodgers big league squad in 1997. His best asset was always his good arm & his defensive abilities behind the plate.
He made a career at being at being a solid backup catcher in Los Angeles (1997) then with the Colorado Rockies (1999) Milwaukee Brewers (2000-2001) Atlanta Braves (2002-2003) Minnesota Twins (2004) Chicago Cubs (2005-2008) San Diego Padres (2009) the New York Mets (2010) & Arizona D-backs (2011).
Defensively, he has a strong arm and has excelled in throwing out base runners.
In 1999 he led all catchers throwing out 39 runners, and would throw out over 30 runners twice more coming in second place in the league's top ten both times. In those seasons he led in caught stealing percentage, and has thrown out over 40% of would be base stealers six times in his career. He is second best at that percentage (42%) among all active catchers. His .994 fielding percentage is 13th best all time behind the plate. In his career he has only made 32 errors in 831 games & over 6478 innings played. Besides his defense he will always be remembered for his tattooed arms, not the most common site among baseball players.
In 2004 he was the Twins main catcher in the year Johan Santana won his first Cy Young Award. Blanco played in 114 games hitting 10 HRs with 19 doubles & 37 RBIs. Behind the plate he caught 49% of runners trying to steal (best in the AL), thirty runners in all (second in the league). The Twins won the AL.L Western title In Game #4 of the NLDS he hit a HR off Javier Vazquez in the 6-5 loss.
The next season a he signed a four year deal with the Chicago Cubs and played as back up, first to Michael Barrett & then Geovany Soto.
There he became a popular player and earned the nickname of "Hank White". highest he ever hit for average was .292 with the Cubs in 2008 playing in 58 games. In the 2008 Cubs NL Central Division winning season, Blanco hit for his personal career best .292 with a ,325 on base %.
Blanco signed on with the New York Mets in 2010 to share catching responsibilities with Rod Barrajas.
In his first Mets game on April 10th, he got the start behind the plate catching Oliver Perez. Perez would allow four quick runs & be gone. In the 4-3 loss to the Washington Nationals, Blanco drove in a run on a sac fly and had two hits. On May 8th, he hit his first Mets HR & it was an exciting one. It was a walk off game winner at Citi Field against the San Francisco Giants. That night he had a big three hit game and would close out the month with another three hit game against the Brewers in Milwaukee.
On June 10th he hit another HR at big Citi Field, a two run shot against the San Diego Padres.
Rod Barajas was hitting a lot of HRs early on & seeing the majority of the playing time in New York, until he was traded late in the season. Then young catcher Josh Thole began to get into games with Blanco seeing less time. Overall Behind the plate, in 46 games Blanco threw out 11 of 22 base runners attempting to steal (50%).
He was let go to free agency after the season & signed on with the Arizona D-backs at the age of 39. He now has played two seasons there and is the sixth oldest player in the league in 2012.
Drama: In 2008 his brother Carlos was kidnapped in Venezuela, and the criminal’s asked for 200 million Venezuelan bolívares. Henry attempted to negotiate but his brother was sadly found dead shortly after.